When Jewish housewives began making gefilte fish in medieval Europe, it may have been because the Lenten ready dish from which it derives (e.g. My Jewish Learning) offered a clever “workaround” for the Jewish commandment that no work be done on the weekly Sabbath, including cooking or reheating, by Jewish Telegraph Agency. Gefilte fish can be made ahead, allowing it to be served as a cold entrée during Friday night dinner or Saturday afternoon lunch, or both. Once prepared, gefilte fish can be enjoyed without having to remove the bones, which is also considered work under Jewish law and prohibited on Shabbat.
With its mild taste and pleasant texture, gefilte fish has gone from Shabbat necessity to Shabbat tradition, by the new yorker. The dish has become such a staple on many Jewish holiday tables that even those who can’t stand it still expect to see it on the table. This includes Passover, an eight-day period when consumption of sourdough bread products is forbidden. For this reason, the Passover version of the gefilte fish replaces the matzoh flour with the usual breadcrumbs. Of course, the ultimate test of the true quality of the beloved gefilte fish might be whether it’s turning up on Passover tables now that food price increases have pushed the price of the item into the stratosphere, as Hamodia reported.